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Looking for an exotic house pet? Check out our detailed review of the Sokoke cat breed to learn more.

The Sokoke cat breed is undoubtedly one of the rarest and most-wanted in the world. As they are classified as an exotic breed, you need to be extra cautious in terms of maintenance and diet.

These cats are very energetic and playful when it comes to humans. They love being both outdoors and indoors. Sokokes have short hair coats which look stunning, especially under the sun. Since they are quite active, you’ll be required to walk them around the block on a leash.

When it comes to exotic pets, you should do all the research necessary. Luckily for you, we took the trouble of compiling all we know regarding Sokoke cat breeds.

Let’s get right to it!

Physical Characteristics 
Height7 to 8 inches
Weight5 to 10 pounds
Lifespan15 to 20 years
ColorsBrown Tabby color
Suitable Forfamilies, apartments, children
TemperamentSociable, vocal, playful, affectionate

Which Homes Are Best For Sokoke’s

Don’t misjudge the Sokoke cat just because it is an exotic pet. These cats love going out and about. While we would suggest you keep your Sokoke indoors mostly, they will require frequent trips outdoors.

As Sokoke cat breeds are sociable creatures, they crave exposure to the outside world. This makes them perfect for small and large families. Their active nature will keep all the members entertained for hours!


The average lifespan of Sokoke cats ranges from 15 to 20 years. Although exotic, these cats tend to have the same life expectancy as most other common house cats. However, this can vary depending on the conditions they are kept in and how well they are maintained.

Average Size

Essentially, Sokoke cats are medium-sized cats whose length can range from 7 to 8 inches when fully grown. There is little to no difference in size when it comes to their genders.

In terms of weight, these cats have an average weight ranging from 5 to 10 pounds. Sokokes are slim and athletic cats that are very light on their feet.

Breed Origin

Initially, the first breed of Sokokes was spotted in Kenya in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Preserve. Back in the day, Kenyans would identify them as Kadzonzo (based on their appearance), which translates to “tree-bark looking”. Even though Sokokes were originally products of breeding in the wild, they are almost extinct now.

In 1978, a professional horse breeder by the name of Jeni Slater took in a litter of cats she found in her garden. Soon she raised those kittens to become trained household cats. Later on, she imported the two cats to Europe and then sent over three more.

This was the beginning of Sokoke cat breeds in the European continent. As they gained popularity over the years, more Sokokes began entering Europe from Kenya. At last, in 2015, the cat breed was given GCCF preliminary recognition, which formally legitimized the name of Sokoke cats.

Original Gene Pool

Unlike most other crossbred cats, Sokokes are a product of natural breeding. This means they were a product of natural breeding between wild feral cats in Kenya. Therefore, it is almost impossible to mix two breeds in hopes of Sokoke offspring.

Breed Founder


The appearance of a Sokoke cat is very distinguishable from other cat breeds. Their combination of slim legs and lean body helps them move sharply on their toes in a fluid manner.


It is very easy to identify Sokoke cat breeds because of their angled cheekbones. They have a sharp face with medium to large ears based on their size. These cats have one of two eye colors, blue and greenish yellow. In most cases, Snow Sokokes are the ones to have bright blue almond shaped eyes.

When it comes to their body type, these cats have lean and athletic builds. This is partly because of their wild ancestors that lived in forests.

You can easily identify a Sokoke cat breed by looking at their hind legs, which tend to be longer than their front limbs. These help Sokokes jump great distances and even run for long periods of time.

One of the most striking traits of the Sokoke is their tabby fur coats. As their name goes, their fur looks a lot like the bark of a tree. The short hair coat is a breeze when it comes to grooming and shedding.


Sokokes are considered to be the social butterflies of cat breeds. Not only are they vocal when interacting, but they also love listening to others talk. These cats will do almost anything to cheer you up on a bad day. They are gullible creatures that love holding on to the attention they get.

Indoors or Outdoors

The rarity of Sokoke cats would require you to keep them indoors for most parts of the day. However, these cats are quite active and feel the constant need to be in an open space. Just like dogs, Sokokes love being walked around with. With that in mind, you should always train your Sokoke to go out on walks.

This intelligent and energetic breed will love tip-toeing across the house and picking up conversations with everybody. As they are vocal in nature, you will often find them engaging in small conversations with other humans.

Most animal lovers out there can identify and acknowledge the rarity of this breed. So, if you are planning on taking your Sokoke out for walks, make sure you don’t leave them unattended.


Sokoke cat breeds are full of life, and they aren’t shy either. They just love meowing to show positive responses when communicating. However, when it comes to their walking stance, they are as silent as ninjas. Due to their longer hind limbs, Sokokes are always tip-toeing around the floors.


Sokokes are perfect for large families or ones with children because of their attention-seeking traits.

These cats need a lot of caressing and treats in order to feel loved. What makes them so entertaining is how easily they can integrate into the family dynamics. These cats will even go to the door upon hearing the bell to receive your guests.

As they are very energetic, Sokokes can easily learn new tricks with the help of interactive toys. Also, they easily open up to children, so it shouldn’t be so hard to teach your Sokoke how to fetch.


These cats just seem to love being played with. Add a few toys in the mix, and you’ve got yourself one of the most overwhelmed Sokokes ever. They are very enthusiastic creatures which help them master neat tricks easily.


When it comes to being playful, that’s Sokoke’s middle name. Perfect for families with kids, Sokokes crave attention and a playing partner all the time. Since these cats are naturally bred and have wildlife genes, you need to keep them stimulated in order to keep them happy.

If you don’t have kids in your family, go get yourself a yarn ball and throw it around to keep your Sokoke busy. Not only will it strengthen the trust between you and your cat but also keep them busy for hours.


There is no doubt that Sokoke is one of the friendliest breeds out there. These short-haired felines love communicating with humans and other animals (if they get a positive response).


If you have a hyper child around the family, pair them up with a Sokoke cat and watch the fun unfold. Since kids are very expressive in nature, they will be able to give your cats the attention they need.

We advise you to teach your children the proper way to interact with cats. Supervising the initial interactions will help foster a healthy relationship between your Sokoke and child.

Other Animals

Sokokes are quite intelligent and can almost always sense when other animals want to befriend them. However, when it comes to animals, it is always unpredictable. Initial interactions should always be supervised, and if you notice any violent behavior make sure to raise your voice to warn them.

In most cases, your Sokoke cat will be the first one to go up to other pets and try to charm them.

Breed-Predisposed Ailments

Generally, Sokoke cats are quite healthy and don’t have a history of genetic complications. However there are certain health issues all cats including Sokokes are prone to.

  • Eye Issues
  • Ear Infection
  • Coughing


When it comes to grooming Sokoke cat breeds, this is perhaps one of the easiest responsibilities. There are certain basic routines that you need to carry out weekly, but that applies to all cats.


Since these felines are short-haired and exhibit little to no shedding, you don’t have to brush them regularly. Generally, these cats hate being handled when it comes to grooming, so your best bet is to train them from a young age in order to get used to it.


Sokokes have medium to large ears, which can make them prone to various infections. Be sure to check your cat’s ears for any sort of redness, if you do spot something wrong, contact the vet immediately.


When it comes to getting yourself a breed as rare as the Sokoke, just know that it comes at a hefty price. These pets are considered to be exotic creatures, and you will have to spend a big chunk of your savings on them.

Cost of Kittens

Average Sokoke kittens can go for a minimum of $500, but that is still a very rare find. Most sellers usually charge around $1000 to $2000 depending on the coat and eye color.

Pros & Cons


  • Friendly and playful in nature
  • They are easy to groom and require very little care
  • Generally very healthy and have no genetic complications
  • Quick to learn tricks and love going out on walks


  • Don’t enjoy being handled, so grooming might be difficult
  • Considered to be exotic pets which makes them very expensive

Final Thoughts

Sokoke cats are great pets to have if you’re a family-oriented person. Their energetic and sociable lifestyle makes them perfect for children and other pets. As this breed is extremely rare, you should be very careful when you decide to bring one home.

We hope our detailed review on Sokoke cats has helped clarify all your doubts regarding this lovely breed.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my cat is a Sokoke breed?

Sokoke cats have very distinct tree bark-like coats which are brown and tabby. They also have sharp faces with almond-shaped eyes, unlike most cats.